Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bush reaffirms his status as a war criminal

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Former President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush

Last June, ex-President Bush officially became a war criminal of his own admission when he candidly declared during a CNN interview that, yes, his administration did waterboard 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. As you might know, waterboarding fits under virtually every legal (and moral) definition of “torture”, and is thus explicitly prohibited under the UN Convention Against Torture, which demands that any parties found guilty of allowing or participating in the torture of detainees, directly or indirectly, be prosecuted immediately.

However, it still wasn’t clear just how involved he was in the affair, as his admission, glaring as it may be, was limited to saying that his administration took part in torture. (Not that this really matters in the eyes of the law, where he is most definitely guilty nonetheless.) But now, ever the type to apparently think (or hope) that being honest about it will place him back in people’s good graces or allow him to escape accountability, Bush has come out in his new memoir and openly states that he, himself, personally authorized waterboarding KSM when the option was brought up:

In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

In his book, titled "Decision Points," Bush recounts being asked by the CIA whether it could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, who Bush said was suspected of knowing about still-pending terrorist plots against the United States. Bush writes that his reply was "Damn right" and states that he would make the same decision again to save lives, according to a someone close to Bush who has read the book.

Bush previously had acknowledged endorsing what he described as the CIA's "enhanced" interrogation techniques - a term meant to encompass irregular, coercive methods - after Justice Department officials and other top aides assured him they were legal. "I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Vice President Richard B. Cheney acknowledged in a television interview in February.

Of course, we can safely surmise two facts from this revelation. (That is, other than Cheney also being involved, which should come as a surprise to exactly no-one.) First, Bush really doesn’t give a damn about such things as justice, international law and upholding human rights, just so long as he’s able to have his cronies inflict some hurt on those people he holds responsible for attacking his country (whether they actually are guilty or not). But then, this isn’t exactly news to anyone who’s been paying attention to such matters.

Secondly, and most expectedly, the fact that Bush openly admits that he greenlit a procedure that is pretty much universally categorized as torture in his memoir, and that he has neither been prosecuted yet and nor is he expected to be, really does speak volumes about the complete lack of integrity and apathy in the US criminal justice system. If a man is effectively immune from prosecution for his inhumane acts simply because of his former position in an elected office, then how can anyone hold the slightest measure of respect for such an institution that lets criminals walk free without so much as a second thought?

(via @todayspolitics)